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Former Shine CEO Alex Mahon Named Boss of U.K.’s Channel 4

Variety logo Variety 6/5/2017 Stewart Clarke
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Britain’s Channel 4 has named former Shine boss Alex Mahon as its new chief executive, to start in the fall. Currently head of special-effects company The Foundry, Mahon will replace David Abraham, who announced his departure from the commercial broadcaster earlier this year.

Mahon will be the first female chief executive in Channel 4’s 35-year history.

Charles Gurassa, Channel 4’s chairman, described Mahon as “an outstanding leader and a highly experienced CEO who has developed and grown major international businesses in both the creative and technology sectors. She brings an impressive combination of relevant experience and is brilliantly placed to help steer Channel 4 through the competitive challenges and opportunities ahead.

“She is a great enthusiast for Channel 4 and its unique public service remit and her recent work with government will be valuable in facilitating constructive dialogue with the new administration.”

Mahon, who produced the shows “MasterChef” and “Broadchurch” and whose The Foundry software special-effects company worked on Hollywood films “Interstellar” and “Gravity,” said: “Channel 4’s unique remit to innovate and to appeal to young and diverse audiences make it an essential part of British culture. There is nowhere in the world like Channel 4 and, in these changing times, its mission is more important than ever.

“I’m incredibly proud to be joining Channel 4 and bring to it experience both of leading creative organizations at scale and dealing with an environment of constant technological change.”

The new Channel 4 boss will join as the broadcaster ushers in “Great British Bake Off,” which it poached from BBC One. Like the BBC, Channel 4 is a U.K. public service broadcaster; however, unlike the BBC, it is commercially funded.

The management at the broadcaster has successfully fought off moves to privatize Channel 4, but is now facing the prospect of having to relocate its headquarters from London to a city further north – likely Birmingham, Britain’s second-most-populous city. Abraham is known to be strongly opposed to the idea of a move. Mahon’s position is not yet clear.

She will take the job that many expected to go to Jay Hunt, the Channel 4 programming boss who announced her departure from the broadcaster last week. Her replacement has yet been named.

Mahon left Shine in 2015, having been at the company since 2006, as it merged with Endemol. Having started out in medicine, her other TV experience includes stints at Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia.

She has also been involved with the Edinburgh International Television Festival and the U.K.’s Royal Television Society, as well as being part of the government advisory panel that was established to offer guidance on the future of public broadcaster the BBC.

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